The Lenawee County Historical Society occupies this stately building that once housed Adrian’s public library. When J.C. Penny left downtown for the new mall in the 1970s, the library moved over to take its place, and the historical society came here. This is a picture of the building when it was dedicated in 1909.
A group from our church went to the Historical Society Museum last Thursday to see World War II: On the Home Front, an exhibit looking at life in our county during the early 40s. Among the memorabilia on display was a bicycle, a radio, a small kitchen, letters and newspaper clippings. A large sign showing the names of service members who died in the war hung on one wall, with another listing the numbers of men and women in local war plants on the facing wall. I never knew there was a German POW camp ten miles down the road in Blissfield — the prisoners worked in a canning factory.
After the World War II exhibit we toured the rest of the museum, looking at pioneer tools, vintage dresses and an old Lyon automobile manufactured in Adrian. I love looking at old things — and if they’re in a hundred year old building with all the asymmetrical charm of that era, so much the better.
In the larger plan of things, though, a hundred years is a blip. Biology says humans as we know them arose 200,000 years ago in Africa, developing from other forms of life still older. And geology says the radioactive decay of elements in the earth indicate our planet is 4.5 billion years old, a span of time that dwarfs all else.
The earth itself is the great antique, and I look at it every day.